Election Notebook: Wamp gaining at end; Pachyderms oust pair

Election Notebook: Wamp gaining at end; Pachyderms oust pair

August 9th, 2014 in Opinion Free Press

Late Vote Favored Wamp

What's clear about the Republican primary vote in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District is that later voters turned toward challenger Weston Wamp in his ultimately unsuccessful effort to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, indicating the latter's late distortions and negative advertising may have had the opposite effect from what was intended.

Early voting totals in Anderson, Bradley and Roane counties, for instance, saw comfortable leads for Fleischmann, 53.1 percent in Anderson, 61.4 percent in Bradley and 50.12 percent in Roane. However, in Election Day totals, the incumbent won only 50.3 percent in Anderson, 56.3 percent in Bradley and 49.92 percent in Roane. Wamp slightly increased his edge in Scott County from 60.07 percent of the early vote to 60.13 percent of the vote on Election Day.

Interestingly, in Scott County, where the late Sen. Howard Baker resided before his death last month, Wamp won by more than 700 votes. Fleischmann, in several debates and forums after the well-regarded senator's death, liked to insert the fact he had been Baker's congressman.

Capacity To Forgive

Apparently, 4th District congressional voters take a man at his word.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, thought to be one of the most vulnerable members of Congress in the 2014 cycle after damaging personal information was revealed about him just before and just after his 2012 re-election, squeezed out a victory, barring provisionals, in Thursday's Republican primary by 35 votes out of 69,539 cast.

Minus a recount, in order to gain a third term, he'll have to get by unopposed Democrat Lenda Sherrell in November. Given what he did Thursday, it'll be hard to deny him.

Damaged by decade-old divorce-paper revelations of multiple affairs, threatening his ex-wife with a gun and encouraging a pregnant mistress (and patient) to get an abortion, DeJarlais said it was all "old news." Remarried now with three children, he said he is a different man, and voters took him at his word.

Still, he had to get past seemingly unscarred state Sen. Jim Tracy, the assistant floor leader for the State Senate Caucus, and he did just that. Rumors that the race was closer than expected surfaced 10 days before the election, and then he trailed his challenger throughout election evening before pulling ahead late when Grundy County votes were reported.

Apparently, his ranking by the National Journal Magazine as the fourth most conservative member of the House spoke louder than any voices from his past.

Re-runs more fun

In the Hamilton County Commission's two re-run elections on Thursday, both District 6 Commissioner Joe Graham and District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd increased their winning percentages from 2010.

Graham got 60.41 percent of the vote over John Allen Brooks in 2010 but 63.54 percent on Thursday. Boyd got 48.29 percent in a race that included a minor third-party candidate in 2010 but 54.75 percent on Thursday.

In other results:

• Hamilton County Board of Education District 9 winner Steve Highlander garnered more votes (2,923) than his four opponents combined (2,906).

• The school board now has four former classroom teachers (Joe Galloway, Donna Horn, David Testerman and Highlander) on its nine-member body. Galloway and Testerman were re-elected to second terms Thursday.

• Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles garnered the most countywide votes of any candidate with 42,479.

Purity primacy

Party took precedence over personality earlier this week when, with the Hamilton County general election just around the corner, the Downtown Pachyderm Club ousted Republicans Curtis Adams and Perry Perkins for their actural or assumed support of Democrats in Hamilton County Commission races.

Although a representative of the club has walked back the club's move, saying he didn't believe the club's board would go along with the dismissals, the partisanship tuck out like a sore thumb.

That type of intolerance, from Democrats, is one of the reasons so many people switched to the Republican Party over the last 40 years. Their former party had become one in which special interests were primal and the average man forgotten. They saw hope in a Republican Party which wanted everyone to succeed.

Adams, one of those Democrats-turned-Republican, may have felt doubly hurt since as a Republican he previously held the seat Smith was seeking. And he had tried, again as Republican, to regain the seat in May's primary.

Here's hoping the local Pachyderm Club doesn't further become what the party claims it seeks to change.